20 September 2005

Review of ‘Bunty Aur Babli’

The only importance of ‘Bunty Aur Babli’ directed by Shaad Ali Sahgal, is that broke the jinx for Abhishek Bachchan. There are no two opinions that he was a good actor with lot of potential and fire; a fire that could leave a trail of its own. But as with an illustrious bloodline he always fell short of audiences’ unjust expectations. This film changed all that for him, it gave him the elusive hit. It proved to be a boon for the actor and, also for the audience as they got the right scale to gauge his potential. ‘Bunty Aur Bubli’ gives Abhishek ample scope to display his histrionic prowess in an entertaining way. So, this film can be termed as good on this count.

If you try to decipher the unprecedented success of ‘Bunty Aur Babli’, you are sure to be left with mixed feelings.

When you start dissecting the film, first victim will be the story. A comic book style tale with zero plausibility value; scampering on the crutches of witty dialogues, fast paced screenplay, good music and of course some good performances.

The tale of two non-violent rustic ruffians, who dream of making it big in the sleepless city of Mumbai.

The sociologists and the analysts may argue that this film depicts the mindset of the people from the small towns in the post-liberalised India. It is true that economic liberalisation has awakened the aspirations of young Indians to the western standards. But watching an amoral celluloid version of it, where the protagonists go to extent of leasing the Taj Mahal for millions of dollars to a dumb looking foreigner, in spite of the intended pun on a politician, who almost did the same in reality, is very hard to digest

There are some truly hilarious scenes like the con job pulled off by our twosome on the dubious manager of a financial company by posing as the agents a television news channel. But after the first couple of tricks, it becomes tedious and gets on your nerves. One wishes that storywriter Aditya Chopra had invested more effort in building up the situations and some solid motives for our hero and heroine to follow. The situations are haphazardly put together in an episodic manner without any cohesive progression.

Still our expectations soar when DCP Dashrath Singh played by none other than Amitabh Bachchan pops up in the middle of the story. But he cannot help in any way to give fillip to the lethargic mood already set in.

The screenplay and dialogues by Jaideep Sahni, the young writer who came into the limelight with Ram Gopal Varma’s ‘Company’ add vigour to the story in bits and pieces, but cannot sustain the momentum throughout.

The characterisation is another problem; they look very frivolous to the extent that they look superficial. There is also a psychopathic streak in the lead characters that does not gel well with the humorous intent of the story.

On the positive side, the performance of the lead pair of Abhishek Bachchan and Rani Mukerji holds the film together. It is their onscreen chemistry that livens up the proceedings. If you feel an iota of interest in the going ons in front of you, it is thanks to them.

It is very rare that we see Abhishek Bachchan a jovial and peppy youngster. He has almost been typecast as a brooding young with smouldering lava just waiting to erupt like his portrayal of Lalan in Mani Ratnam’s ‘Yuva’ or the silent reclusive business tycoon type in Sooraj Barjatya’s ‘Main Prem Ki Deewani Hoon’.

Here Abhishek is given an opportunity to break that mould and he utilises it to the full. Initially we may feel that he is same old self, but he comes into his elements as events unfold.

Rani Mukerji has her own celestial place among the Bollywood stars. This film just enhances her position further without really challenging her acting capabilities. As a Miss India aspirant she has to showoff dollops of glamour, which she does with aplomb.

We have to add with a heavy heart that Amitabh Bachchan is plainly disappointing. The sexagenarian actor is just there to increase the marketability of the film. A police officer with a beedi dangling from his lips and Ghamchha (towel) hanging around his neck. The makers have tried to blend both urban and rustic ethos through him.

The music by Shankar, Eshan and Loy is also a mixed bag. ‘Dhadak Dhadak’ deserves a special mention, for it set the tempo for the rest of the film.

The cinematography by Abhik Mukhopadhayay gives the film the feel of an old world Hindi movie.

Final words; Shaad Ali Sahgal who was under apprenticeship of Mani Ratnam before taking up independent projects with ‘Sathiya’ with Rani Mukerji and Vivek Oberoi. The poignancy that was felt in his first film is missing here.

If you are looking for a laugh-a-minute riot, then you won’t be complaining.